Under Japan’s August 2016 Defense Technology Strategy, ATLA supports the country’s activities in, “ensuring technological superiority and responding to operational needs smoothly and quickly.”
To accomplish this goal, ATLA has integrated several organisations and departments, which were responsible for procuring equipment for the JSDF. By doing this, Japan is demonstrating that it wants to more effectively manage all elements of procurement, including concept study, research and development, production, acquisition and maintenance throughout the full life cycle. Since ATLA was only established less than two years ago, it is yet too early to assess its efficiency. The same is true for another ATLA goal, which is to, “maintain and strengthen defence production and technological bases”.
Japan will remain a country whose defence potential is mainly indigenous; even if the JSDF procures equipment from foreign companies, local industry will be the dominant supplier. An element of this strategy is the Innovative Science and Technology Initiative for Security funding programme established by the MoD, whose goal is to involve independent administrative agencies, universities and civilian research centres in research and development for military purposes. The Japanese government and ATLA have stated that, potentially, the most important fields in the medium to long term (i.e. the next 20 years) are unmanned technologies, smart and network technologies, high-power energy, and improvements in the functions and performance of existing platforms.
For the full version of this article, please see MILITARY TECHNOLOGY 6/2017, available at MAST Asia 2017 in Tokyo, Japan.
Dr. Robert Czulda